Citing a "rapidly changing global commerce and payments landscape," eBay has just announced plans to separate its business into two distinct and independent companies: eBay and PayPal. Spinning off PayPal is seen as a way to refocus both companies on the "enormous opportunities" before them and to ensure that they move to grasp them as quickly as possible. Current eBay Marketplaces chief Devin Wenig will become the new eBay Inc. CEO when the restructuring is completed in the latter half of next year, while American Express executive Dan Schulman has been recruited to helm the new PayPal. He joins today as president and CEO-designee.
The separation of eBay, whose focus is facilitating online commerce, and PayPal, who wants to be seen as the leader in online payments, is something that activist investor Carl Icahn has been pushing for both publicly and behind the scenes. He now gets his wish, as the eBay board of directors seems to have come to agree that there's less to be gained from the synergy of the two businesses than there would be from their independent operation. According to eBay's own numbers, PayPal is responsible for handling one in every six dollars spent online, and looking to increase that figure will probably be easier for the company if it's seen as an independent intermediary rather than an offshoot of a large and established online brand.